Why is it called the District of Columbia?

The capital of the U.S. is referred to as the District of Columbia, or Washington, D.C.  By approval of the U.S. Congress, “D.C.,” or the District of Columbia, is considered not part of any state including Maryland or Virginia where it was formerly.  Because of its name, many people have wondered why the capital district is called the District of Columbia.  This particular area is referred to as the District of Columbia because of its former name “Territory of Columbia.”  The old term was a reference to “Columbia” which is considered a poetic term or female reference for the U.S. at that particular point in history.  This term also has its roots in Christopher Columbus who is considered the discoverer of the American continent.

The area where D.C. stands was once part of two states, namely Maryland and Virginia.  Under the U.S. Constitution, the District of Columbia was created to house the capital district of the U.S. government back in 1790.  By 1846, though, the part of Virginia was returned to this particular state with the remaining parts of Maryland considered as its federal district.  Washington was the name of the city inside this federal district, and so the U.S. capital is officially Washington, D.C.

The federal District of Columbia covers around 68 square miles with only the states of Maryland and Virginia bordering it.  All three branches of the U.S. government hold their main offices in this federal district.  Since the year 1973, the District of Columbia is governed by a mayor and 13 council members.  Today, the metropolitan area in which D.C. is a part is among the Top 10 across the U.S. in terms of population.  D.C. in itself has more than 600,000 local residents, and this total doubles in size during the workweek with residents from nearby towns and cities coming to the district for work.

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